eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: gods

Acts of the Apostles 28.1-6

“After we were brought safely through we learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all as it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of vinewood sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.’ He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.”  – Acts of the Apostles 28.1-6

Ratio de catichizandis rudibus 81, 82

“Do not pay honor to idols, do not use charms, do not read omens, do not make sacrifices to mountains, nor trees, nor at the corners of foundation stones. Foolish, faithless and wretched men make idols for themselves with their own hands. They cast and sculpt gods for themselves in the image of man, some from gold, some from silver, some from bronze. Then they set them up and adore them. But others make themselves gods from wood and stone. Others still adore animals and worship them as gods. They give these idols the names of men who died badly in the midst of vices and sins, and whose souls now suffer eternal torments.” – Ratio de catichizandis rudibus 81, 82

John of Ephesos as quoted in the third book of the Chronicle of Zuqnin

“In the nineteenth year of the Emperor Justinian, they were busy, thanks to my zeal, with the matter of the Pagans who were discovered in Constantinople. These were illustrious and noble men, with a host of grammarians, sophists, scholastics and physicians. When they were discovered and, thanks to torture, denounced themselves, they were seized, flogged, imprisoned, and sent to the churches so that they might learn the Christian faith as was appropriate for Pagans. There were among them patricians and nobles. Then a powerful and wealthy Pagan named Phocas, who was a patrician, saw the harshness of the inquisition and knowing that those arrested had denounced him as a Pagan, and that a severe sentence had been given against him because of the zeal of the emperor, that night took deadly poison and so left this earthly life. When the emperor heard this, he ordered with justice that he should be interred like an ass, that there should be no cortege or prayer for him. So his family during the night put him on a litter, carried him, made an open grave and threw him in it like a dead animal. Thanks to this the Pagans were afraid for some time. Later on the goodness of god visited Asia, Caria, Lydia and Phrygia, thanks to the zeal of the victorious Justinian and by the efforts of his humble servant. So by the power of the holy spirit, 70,000 souls were instructed, and left behind the errors of Paganism, the worship of idols and the temples of the demons for the knowledge of the truth. All were converted, disavowed the errors of their ancestors, were baptized in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, and were added to the number of Christians. The victorious Justinian paid the expenses and clothing for baptism; he also took care to give three gold pieces to each of them. When god had opened their minds and had made known the truth, they helped us with their own hands to destroy their temples, to overthrow their idols, to extirpate the sacrifices that were offered everywhere, to cut down their altars, soiled with the blood of sacrifices offered to demons, and to cut down countless trees that they worshipped because they were leaving all the errors of their ancestors. The salutary sign of the cross was planted everywhere among them, and churches of god were founded everywhere. They were built and erected, to the number of eighty-six, with great diligence and zeal, in the high mountains and steep and in the plains, in all the places where there was Paganism. Twelve monasteries were also founded in places which were Pagan, and where the name of Christian name had never been heard from the beginning of the world until this time. Fifty-five churches were founded at public expense and forty-one at the expense of the new Christians. The victorious emperor gave them willingly, by our hands, the sacred vessels, clothes, books and brass items.” – John of Ephesos as quoted in the third book of the Chronicle of Zuqnin

St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.706-07

“We abjure those who believe in or invoke the names of foul demons such as Neptune, Orcus, Diana, Minerva, the Genius and all such similar nonsense. Furthermore let no woman dare to name Minerva or other ill-omened personages while weaving or dyeing or doing any other work.” – St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.706-07

Pope Zacharias, Epistle 80

“You must rebaptize those who have been christened by sacrilegious priests, I mean those who while professing Christ also immolate oxen and goats to the gods of the Pagans, eat the flesh and hold sacrifices to the dead.” – Pope Zacharias, Epistle 80

St. Boniface, Sermons 6.1

“All the sacrifices and soothsayings of the Pagan are sacrileges, as are the sacrifices of the dead and those conducted around corpses or over tombs. Also omens, amulets and offerings made on stones, or to springs, trees, Jupiter, Mercury or the other Pagan gods, because they are diabolic; and many other things which would take too long to list are all, according to the judgment of the holy fathers, sacrileges to be avoided and detested by Christians, and they are recognized as capital sins.” – St. Boniface, Sermons 6.1

Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae 21

“All those who make vows to springs, trees or groves, or who bring offerings there according to the custom of the Pagans and consume feasts in honor of demons shall be punished.” – Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae 21

Regino of Prüm, De synodalibus causis 2.5.43

“People sacrifice at trees, springs and stones as though at an altar and bring candles and a multitude of other offerings as if some divinity were to be found there who could benefit them or cause them mischief.” – Regino of Prüm, De synodalibus causis 2.5.43

Martin of Braga, De correctione rusticorum 8

“Many of the demons driven from heaven preside over the sea, rivers, springs or the woods; men who do not know god honor them and sacrifice to them as though they were gods.” – Martin of Braga, De correctione rusticorum 8

St. John Damascene, De fide orthodoxa PG 94.1177b

“If we could glean something of value from the Pagans, it is not one of the things forbidden to us. Let us be like honest bankers, piling up genuine and pure currency, and rejecting the counterfeit. Let us accept their most noble writings, while casting their rediculous gods and foreign myths to the dogs; for we can derive great strength from them.” – St. John Damascene, De fide orthodoxa PG 94.1177b

Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics 8.1160a

“Some kinds of associations seem to be formed for the purpose of enjoyment, such as thiasoi devoted to religious revels and eranoi devoted to feasting; these exist for the sake of sacrifices and fellowship: they hold their sacrifices and meetings, portioning out honors to the gods and providing themselves with pleasurable refreshment. In ancient times, for instance, sacrifices and meetings were held as a kind of first-fruits following the gathering of the crops, since they had the most leisure at those seasons.” – Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics 8.1160a

SIG3 1097

“Gods! The orgeones rent the sanctuary of Ergetes to Diognetos, son of Arkesilos from the deme Melite, for ten years, at the rate of 200 drachmas each year; he is to manage the sanctuary and the buildings constructed in it as a sanctuary; Diognetos shall whitewash the walls which need it, and shall construct and arrange whatever else he wants. At the expiration of the ten year period, he shall take away with him the woodwork, the roof-tiles and the doors and posts; but he shall remove none of the other furnishings. He shall tend the trees growing in the sanctuary; if any dies, he shall replace it and hand on the same number. Diognetos shall pay the rent money to the treasurer of the oregeones in office each year, one half of which is due on the first day of Elaphobolion. When the orgeones sacrifice to the hero in Boedromion, Diognetos is to have open the structure where the shrine is, as well as the shed, the kitchen, and the couches and tables for two dining rooms. Should Diognetos fail to pay the rent on time or meet any of the other requirements of the lease, the lease is to be void and he is deprived of all the property and contributions to the sanctuary’s upkeep that he has made, and the orgeones may rent to whomever they wish thereafter. Diognetos is to inscribe this lease on the stone which stands in the sanctuary. The term of the lease begins in the year when Koroibos is arkhon.” – SIG3 1097

SIG3 986

“Resolved by the council, Tellis presiding: In the sacred groves there is to be no pasturing or dumping of manure. If any one does herd sheep, pigs or cattle, the person who sees it should report it to the authorities in order to remain pure in the god’s sight. The fine for the shepherd, swineherd or cowherd shall be 1/12 stater for each animal. If any one is caught dumping manure, he shall pay five staters to become pure in the god’s sight. If the person who sees it does not report it he shall pay five staters, sanctified to the god.” – SIG3 986

Xenophon, Anabasis 3.1.5-7

“And Sokrates advised Xenophon to go to Delphi and consult the god in regard to this journey. So Xenophon went and asked Apollo to what one of the gods he should sacrifice and pray in order best and most successfully to perform the journey which he had in mind and, after meeting with good fortune, to return home in safety; and Apollon in his response told him to what gods he must sacrifice. When Xenophon came back from Delphi, he reported the oracle to Sokrates; and upon hearing about it Sokrates found fault with him because he did not first put the question whether it were better for him to go or stay, but decided for himself that he was to go and then asked the god as to the best way of going. However, he added, since you did put the question in that way, you must do all that the god directed.” – Xenophon, Anabasis 3.1.5-7

MIFAO 104.127-33

“Now, what means your not going to the Wise Woman about the two boys who died in your charge? Consult the Wise Woman about the death the two boys suffered: was it their fate or was it their lot? While you consult about them for me, also see about my own life and the life of their mother. And should she happen to mention any god to you, you will be sure to write me afterwards about his name and any work that he wills to be done by one who knows their duty.” – MIFAO 104.127-33

Turin Stela 50044

“By the servant of the Moon, Huy. He says, I am the man the who falsely swore to the Moon concerning the scoop, and he caused me to see the greatness of his strength before the entire land. I will recount your manifestation to the fish in the river and to the birds in the sky, and they will say to their children’s children, Beware of the Moon, the merciful, who knew how to avert this.” – Turin Stela 50044

Turin Stela 50058

“Giving praise to the Peak of the West; kissing the earth to her ka. I give praise; hear my invocation. I am righteous on earth. Made by the servant in the Place of Truth, Nefer-abu, justified, an ignorant man without sense. I did not know good from bad when I made the transgression against the Peak, and she punished me, I being in her hand night and day. I sat on a brick like a pregnant woman while I called out for breath without its coming to me. I humbled myself to the Peak of the West, great of power, to every god and every goddess. Behold, I will say it to the great and the small in the work-gang; Beware of the Peak, because a lion is in her. The Peak, she strikes with the strike of a fierce lion when she is after the one who transgresses against her. I called out to my mistress and found her coming to me as a sweet wind, and she was merciful to me, after she let me see her hand. She turned to me in peace, and she made me forget the sickness that was in my heart. So the Peak of the West is merciful when one calls to her. Spoken by Nefer-abu: Behold, may the ears of all those who are alive on the earth take heed – beware the Peak of the West!” – Turin Stela 50058

Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

“Mark the days which come from Zeus, duly telling your slaves of them, and that the thirtieth day of the month is best for one to look over the work and to deal out supplies. For these are days which come from Zeus the all-wise, when men discern aright. To begin with, the first, the fourth, and the seventh — on which Leto bare Apollo with the blade of gold — each is a holy day. The eighth and the ninth, two days at least of the waxing month, are specially good for the works of man. Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One, gathers her pile. On that day woman should set up her loom and get forward with her work. Avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for beginning to sow: yet it is the best day for setting plants. The sixth of the mid-month is very unfavourable for plants, but is good for the birth of males, though unfavourable for a girl either to be born at all or to be married. Nor is the first sixth a fit day for a girl to be born, but a kindly for gelding kids and sheep and for fencing in a sheep-cote. It is favourable for the birth of a boy, but such will be fond of sharp speech, lies, and cunning words, and stealthy converse. On the eighth of the month geld the boar and loud- bellowing bull, but hard-working mules on the twelfth. On the great twentieth, in full day, a wise man should be born. Such an one is very sound-witted. The tenth is favourable for a male to be born; but, for a girl, the fourth day of the mid-month. On that day tame sheep and shambling, horned oxen, and the sharp-fanged dog and hardy mules to the touch of the hand. But take care to avoid troubles which eat out the heart on the fourth of the beginning and ending of the month; it is a day very fraught with fate. On the fourth of the month bring home your bride, but choose the omens which are best for this business. Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible. On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of Horcus whom Eris bare to trouble the forsworn. Look about you very carefully and throw out Demeter’s holy grain upon the well-rolled threshing floor on the seventh of the mid-month. Let the woodman cut beams for house building and plenty of ships’ timbers, such as are suitable for ships. On the fourth day begin to build narrow ships. The ninth of the mid-month improves towards evening; but the first ninth of all is quite harmless for men. It is a good day on which to beget or to be born both for a male and a female: it is never an wholly evil day. Again, few know that the twenty-seventh of the month is best for opening a wine-jar, and putting yokes on the necks of oxen and mules and swift-footed horses, and for hauling a swift ship of many thwarts down to the sparkling sea; few call it by its right name. On the fourth day open a jar. The fourth of the mid-month is a day holy above all. And again, few men know that the fourth day after the twentieth is best while it is morning: towards evening it is less good. These days are a great blessing to men on earth; but the rest are changeable, luckless, and bring nothing. Everyone praises a different day but few know their nature. Sometimes a day is a stepmother, sometimes a mother. That man is happy and lucky in them who knows all these things and does his work without offending the deathless gods, who discerns the omens of birds and avoids transgressions.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

Hesiod, Works and Days 724-745

“Never pour a libation of sparkling wine to Zeus after dawn with unwashen hands, nor to others of the deathless gods; else they do not hear your prayers but spit them back. Do not stand upright facing the sun when you make water, but remember to do this when he has set towards his rising. And do not make water as you go, whether on the road or off the road, and do not uncover yourself: the nights belong to the blessed gods. A scrupulous man who has a wise heart sits down or goes to the wall of an enclosed court. Do not expose yourself befouled by the fireside in your house, but avoid this. Do not beget children when you are come back from ill-omened burial, but after a festival of the gods. Never cross the sweet-flowing water of ever-rolling rivers afoot until you have prayed, gazing into the soft flood, and washed your hands in the clear, lovely water. Whoever crosses a river with hands unwashed of wickedness, the gods are angry with him and bring trouble upon him afterwards. At a cheerful festival of the gods do not cut the withered from the quick upon that which has five branches with bright steel [i.e. do not cut your fingernails]. Never put the ladle upon the mixing-bowl at a wine party, for malignant ill-luck is attached to that.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 724-745

Hesiod, Works and Days 248-264

“You princes, mark well this punishment you also; for the deathless gods are near among men and mark all those who oppress their fellows with crooked judgements, and reck not the anger of the gods. For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice ten thousand spirits, watchers of mortal men, and these keep watch on judgements and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in mist, all over the earth. And there is virgin Justice, the daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympos, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Kronos, and tells him of men’s wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly. Keep watch against this, you princes, and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 248-264

Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 11

“The mother of Galerius, a woman exceedingly superstitious, was a votary of the gods of the mountains. Being of such a character she made sacrifices almost every day, and she feasted her servants on the meat offered to idols.” – Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 11

Zosimus, New History 5.39ff

“The Romans called to mind the aid which the city had formerly met with in emergencies; and that they, by transgressing their ancient institutions, were now left destitute of it. While they were occupied in these reflections, Pompeianus, the prefect of the city, accidentally met with some persons who were come to Rome from Tuscany, and related that a town called Neveia had delivered itself from extreme danger, the Barbarians having been repulsed from it by storms of thunder and lightning, which was caused by the devotion of its inhabitants to the gods, in the ancient mode of worship. Having discoursed with these men, he performed all that was in his power according to the books of the chief priests. Recollecting, however, the opinions that were then prevalent, he resolved to proceed with greater caution, and proposed the whole affair to the bishop of the city, whose name was Innocentius. Preferring the preservation of the city to his own private opinion, he gave them permission to do privately whatever they knew to be convenient. They declared however that what they were able to do would be of no utility, unless the public and customary sacrifices were performed, and unless the senate ascended to the capitol, performing there, and in the different markets of the city, all that was essential. But no person daring to join in the ancient religious ordinances, they dismissed the men who were come from Tuscany, and applied themselves to the endeavouring to appease the Barbarians in the best possible manner. With this design they again sent ambassadors. After long discussions on both sides, it was at length agreed, that the city should give five thousand pounds of gold, and thirty thousand of silver, four thousand silk robes, three thousand scarlet fleeces, and three thouand pounds of pepper. As the city possessed no public stock, it was necessary for the senators who had property, to undertake the collection by an assessment. Palladius was empowered to rate every person according to his estate, but was not able to complete the whole sum out of all, either because many persons concealed part of their property, or because the city was impoverished, through the avarice and unceasing exactions of the magistrates appointed by the emperor. The evil genius, who at that time presided over the human race, then incited the persons employed in this transaction to the highest pitch of wickedness. They resolved to supply the deficiency from the ornaments that were about the statues of the gods. This was in effect only rendering inanimate and inefficacious those images, which had been fixed up, and dedicated to sacred rites and ceremonies, and were decorated with precious attire, for preserving the city in perpetual felicity. And since every thing then conspired to the ruin of the city, they not only robbed the statues of their ornaments, but also melted down some of them that were made of gold and silver. Among these was that of Valour or Fortitude, which the Romans call Virtus. This being destroyed, all that remained of the Roman valour and . intrepidity was totally extinguished; according to the remarks of persons who were skilled in sacred rites and observances.” – Zosimus, New History 5.39ff

Zosimus, New History 5.37ff

“But the antiquity of the city, in the midst of these impious designs, was able to call to its aid the presiding deities by which it was preserved. It is, therefore, worthy of the pains to describe the cause to which the city owed its preservation ; it being divine and supernatural, and calculated to excite devotion in all who hear it. When Alaric advanced with all his forces against the city, he saw Athena, its tutelar goddess, walking along the wall, in the same form in which she is represented among the statues of the gods, which is in armour ready to attack those who oppose her. Before the walls he saw Achilles standing in an heroic posture, such as that in which Homer represents him engaging the Trojans so furiously in revenge for the death of Patroclus. Alaric, being struck with awe by this sight, desisted from his attempt on the city, and sent heralds with proposals for peace. These being accepted, and oaths mutually exchanged, Alaric entered Athens with a small number of troops. He was there entertained with all possible civility, and treated with great hospitality ; after which he received some presents, and departed, leaving the city and all Attica uninjured. Thus Athens, which was the only place that was preserved from the earthquake which happened under the reign of Valens, and shook the whole of Greece, as I mentioned in the preceding book, escaped also from this extreme danger.” – Zosimus, New History 5.37ff

CMRDM 1.69

“Great is Meis Axiottenos who rules Tarsi! When a scepter was set up to involve the god if anyone stole anything from the bath-house and a himation was then stolen, the god punished the thief and caused him after some time to bring the himation back and confess. The god then ordered by an angel that the himation be sold for the benefit of the temple and the thief to write the power of the god on a stele.” – CMRDM 1.69

P. Oxy. 42.3069

“Aquila to Sarapion the philosopher, greetings! I was overjoyed to receive your letter. Our friend Callinicus was testifying to the utmost about the way of life you follow even under such conditions – especially in your not abandoning your austerities. Yes, we may deservedly congratulate ourselves, not because we do these things, but because we are not diverted from them by ourselves. Courage! Carry through what remains like a man! Let not wealth distract you, nor beauty, nor anything else of the same kind: for there is no good in them, if virtue is not joined to them; no without her they are vanishing and worthless. Under the protection of the gods, I expect to see you in Antinoopolis. Send Soteris the puppy, since she now spends her time by herself in the country. Good health to you and yours! Good health!” – P. Oxy. 42.3069

Aelius Aristides, Oration 48.32

“For there was a feeling as if taking hold of the god and of clearly perceiving that he himself had come, of being midway between sleeping and waking, of wanting to look, of struggling against his departure too soon; of having applied one’s ears and hearing some things as in a dream, some waking; hair stood straight, tears flowed in joy; the burden of understanding seemed light. What man is able to put these things into words? Yet if he is one of those who have undergone initiation, he knows and is familiar with them.” – Aelius Aristides, Oration 48.32

The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

“It was the custom among them yearly to bathe the images of the gods in the nearby lake, and on that day was the chance for them to be cleansed along with their idols. Each of the idols was set up on a wagon, and they were led through the city and into the countryside where the lake was. The whole populace of the city went out with them to see the sight, for the sound of the pipes and cymbals attracted attention, as did the dancing women with hair let loose like maenads, and there was a great pounding of their feet striking the ground and lots of musical instruments accompanying them.” – The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

Censorinus, De die natali 12.2

“If music were not welcome to the immortal gods, theater spectacles would not have been established to conciliate the gods, the flute-player would not be used in all sacrifices in sacred temples, nor would a triumphal parade be conducted with the flute and horn player in honor of Mars, nor the lyre to Apollo, nor the flute and similar instruments to the Muses.” – Censorinus, De die natali 12.2

Artemidoros, Oneirocritica 1.8

“Common customs differ greatly from individual ones. If anyone has not learned this, he will be deceived by them in trying to interpret dreams. These, then, are common customs: to venerate and honor the gods, for there is no nation without gods, just as there is none without rulers. For different people reverence different gods, but the worship of all is directed towards the same power. To nurture children, to have sexual intercourse, to be awake during the day and the like. These, then, are common customs. The others we call individual or ethnic. For example, among the Thracians the well-born children are tatooed, whereas among the Getae, it is their slaves. And the Mossynes in the territory of Pontus have sexual intercourse in public and mingle with their wives just as dogs do, whereas in the eyes of other men, this behavior is considered to be shameful.” – Artemidoros, Oneirocritica 1.8

Plotinos, Enneads 3.2.8.36-39

“It would not be right for a god to fight in person for the unwarlike; the law says that those who fight bravely, not those who pray, are to come safe out of wars; for in the same way, it is not those who pray but those who look after their land that are to get in a harvest.” – Plotinos, Enneads 3.2.8.36-39